March 16, 2018
Fusion Center honored for 10th anniversary
– It helps police locate killers and unmask multi-state crime rings. It thwarts
human traffickers and aids keeping crowds safe at Bridge Day, the national
Scout jamboree and other events. And on Saturday, the W.Va. Intelligence Fusion
Center marks its first decade of service.
Jim Justice has honored the Fusion Center’s for its 10th anniversary
with a proclamation, presented on Friday to Director Jessica Griffith by Deputy
Chief of Staff Ann Urling.
Fusion Center was formed on March 17, 2008 to apply a bitter lesson from Sept.
11. As a result, an array of local, state and federal law enforcement and
public safety agencies as well as private sector partners now share
information, resources and expertise. This approach harnesses their respective
strengths to prevent, detect, investigate and respond to all hazards –
including but not limited to terrorist and criminal activity.
taking part in Friday’s ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion were U.S. Sen. Joe
Manchin, who was governor when the Fusion Center began, and Secretary of State
Mac Warner, who has enlisted the center in his mission to defend digital
West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center is extremely proud of the dedicated
service by its men and women both past and present,” Governor Justice wrote.
“During the past decade, the Fusion Center has been nationally recognized
countless times for its accomplishments.”
Justice also signed an Executive Order last month declaring, for the first
time, the Fusion Center to be a criminal justice entity – a critical
designation under federal law that enhances its capabilities.
analysts and specialists who staff the Fusion Center routinely provide
effective, behind-the-scenes assistance both in the Mountain State and across
the country. The center’s numerous successes including locating the killers of
a North Carolina couple as they drove through West Virginia, and a Putnam
County homicide suspect after he had fled to a Boston suburb; linking a bogus
check to a multi-state fraud ring targeting casinos; and educating everyone
from law enforcement to hairdressers on how to spot would-be human traffickers
and their victims.
achievements include helping law enforcement identify more than 70 persons of
interest and multiple drug trafficking operatives to aid the fight against the
opioid crisis and resulting crime in Huntington.
Fusion Center’s well-honed skill sets and high-tech tools play similarly
critical roles in preventing or avoiding hazards. It helps conduct pre-event
threat and security assessments and then provides on-site support for all
manner of gatherings, from the Greenbrier Classic and this winter’s
congressional retreat at the resort to Bridge Day and the jamborees hosted at
the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
of this assistance occurs below-the-radar and without fanfare. But the Fusion
Center’s contributions to public safety and homeland security have still been
recognized by numerous organizations and partners, including the U.S. Attorneys
for both of West Virginia’s federal court districts and the International
Association of Special Investigation Units.
Griffith, a veteran analyst for the office, became just the second person to
earn that title last month. She succeeded Thom Kirk, whose hiring in 2008
marked the center’s creation. Kirk was also honored at Friday’s ceremony, and remains
Deputy Secretary and General Counsel of the W.Va. Department of Military
Affairs and Public Safety. The Fusion Center is part of WV DMAPS.
its 10-year history, the Fusion Center has accomplished so much behind the
scenes,” said DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy. “The Fusion Center concept is simple
in its purpose of protecting Americans from domestic and international threats
to our way of life, but complex in its methods to achieve those goals. The
citizens of West Virginia owe it a world of thanks.”
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